Tag: genetics

  • Strengthening a transatlantic bioscience partnership – part two (and a day in rural Lincolnshire!)

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Last week I blogged about the first half of our USA trip which myself and BBSRC colleagues undertook to gain insights to inform our future strategic thinking about science and funding models. We firstly visited Washington and New York and the second half of the trip was spent in Boston where we heard about some amazing science. We are incredibly grateful for all the time that bioscientists at the Wyss Institute, the Broad Institute, MIT, Boston University and Harvard took to meet with us and talk about their research. […]

  • The power of collaboration and diversity

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    Rare diseases by definition are infrequent but they are frequently devastating for patients and their families and can affect people from birth to old age. The Pfizer Rare Disease Consortium inaugural symposium which I was able to attend in part last week was a good opportunity to reconnect with some of my previous colleagues in pharmaceutical R&D as well as academia. […]

  • New technologies, farming challenges and the rise of antimicrobial resistance

    Uncategorized | Jackie Hunter

    In the 1990s I became very interested in the potential of novel technologies to alter gene expression and co-edited a book on antisense and its potential to manipulate novel gene expression in the central nervous system. Technology has moved on enormously since then and we now have many different ways of manipulating gene expression in animals and plants. BBSRC funds some of this work though the institutes and in universities. Recently a paper was published from workers at the Bristol University on how the CRISPR system functions which was co-funded by ourselves and the Wellcome Trust. […]

  • Institutes conference, the Unity of Biology and GM

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    Last week I attended our National Institutes of the Biosciences conference, this time held at the Roslin Institute, where (as last time in Norwich) we heard a range of absolutely stunning talks across the range of our remit, as you would expect from a country whose biological science is number one in the world. It would be quite egregious to pick out any or many “highlights”, but a major point of a conference such as this is the cross-fertilisation that comes when you bring different experts together with different knowledge, techniques and background, but which – because of the essential unity of biology, and indeed of science – can be applied elsewhere. So for my own work – which only infrequently includes mammalian cell biology, and whose conferences I almost never attend – I saw some fabulous images of intracellular organisation (as in this paper) from Peter Fraser and colleagues at Babraham, using one method which may be of considerable use for a problem in which I am interested. The fruits of modern genome sequencing methods (as in that of an ash dieback survivor) were also becoming especially manifest at this meeting (which also featured a call for more ‘mathematicians’ sensu lato in biology). I myself gave a plenary on our drug transporter systems biology work (as in this and this). I particularly enjoyed a plenary from Edinburgh’s Andrew Millar, who (after a typically erudite rehearsal of his work on the systems biology of circadian clocks, including cases that required no transcription) showed us how some fairly straightforward modelling explained why banking and other financial systems lacking the appropriate negative feedback loops (i.e. proper regulation) were doomed to explode. Some simple remedies exist (see an excellent paper (pdf) from the IMF for instance, and the New Economics Foundation). 90-97% of all present debt has been created by commercial banks lending money to people using (or against) assets they did not entirely have, a well-tested recipe for disaster, and one with an obvious and well-established set of solutions (also already explained by Haldane and May, among others). […]

  • Unilever, Institutes, TSB and Foo

    Uncategorized | Douglas Kell

    The first external visit of the week was to Unilever’s research laboratory at Port Sunlight. As a company with interests in food, health and healthcare, and with a published intention to move towards full sustainability of its value chain by 2020, it was not surprising to see that their strategic interests map closely onto our own.

    We had a useful meeting on the Norwich Research Park with the Directors and Directors of operations of our strategically funded Institutes, including updates on campus developments, plans for sharing facilities and much else.

    We also had one of our regular meetings with the Technology Strategy Board. Although there is very frequent and considerable coworking at every level, these meetings, as for those with the Institutes, serve as effective fora to exchange thoughts and knowledge of our activities and strategies. […]